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Red Oni Blue Oni / Music

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  • A hip hop example: Roc Marciano and KA. Both are friends, frequent collaborators, and make music that paints a picture of mid-level hustlers in a drug and violence fueled Crapsack World in the middle of a Wretched Hive. Marciano comes off as a braggadocious Blood Knight who Really Gets Around and revels in the violence and power that comes with the life (Red Oni). KA's music on the other hand portrays him as calmly competent, grimly accepting that he's stuck in a crappy situation and his best option is to be a Punch-Clock Villain, because, well, there isn't much else for him (Blue Oni).
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  • Microdisney were like this, with Cathal Coughlan being the red oni and Sean O'Hagan being the blue oni. Their music was known for the contrast between Cathal's angry/melancholic lyrics and Sean's euphonic, peaceful melodies. This became even clearer when the band broke up due to a clash between the onis - Cathal wanted to make more aggressive music, Sean wanted to make softer music.
  • In early Split Enz, Phil Judd was red to Tim Finn's blue. Early songs of theirs feature Tim Finn's high pitched warbling juxtaposed to a harsh braying jeer from Judd that sounds like mocking laughter.
  • Queen: Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor were Red Oni, while Brian May and John Deacon were Blue Oni.
  • In the 1970s funk scene, P-Funk was the Red Oni to Earth, Wind & Fire's Blue Oni
    • The lines blurred after a while in the P-Funk organization, but on their early albums, Parliament was the more lighthearted Red Oni; Funkadelic was the heavier, more serious Blue Oni.
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  • Space had Jamie Murphy and Tommy Scott as the respective oni. Jamie was a Fiery Redhead whose constant partying caused him to have a nervous breakdown, while Tommy was the more sensitive and introverted one of the two. The trope also applies in the musical sense as Tommy's songs were more melodious and romantic - albeit in a rather twisted way - while Jamie's were darker in tone, particularly on Spiders, and more indie rock-oriented.
  • During the heydey of Britpop, Oasis (the loud, outspoken, '70s rock and Beatles-influenced working class band) were the Red Oni and Blur (the quieter, witty, Kinks-influenced band consisting of University intellectuals) were the Blue Oni. Because of their respective Oni characteristics, Oasis were the more popular of the two, while Blur had more critical acclaim. The two bands also hated each other for most of the '90s, and so did their hardcore fans.
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  • Deep Purple is the Red Oni to Uriah Heep's blue.
  • Also KISS are red to Queen's blue.
  • Also in Blur, Damon Albarn and Alex James are Red; Dave Rowntree and Graham Coxon are Blue.
  • In Heavy Metal, there is the classic rivalry between Metallica (Blue) and Megadeth (Red).
  • In The Who, Roger Daltrey was a more reserved, polite musician; Keith Moon was the Crazy Awesome drummer. They didn't always get along off-stage.
  • Aerosmith: Steven Tyler is the loudmouth, flamboyant front-man (Red) while Joe Perry is the quiet, mellow guitar player (Blue).
  • ABBA: Playful and exuberant Anni-Frid Lyngstad was the red oni, while discreet and reserved Agnetha Fältskog was the blue oni.
  • Bon Jovi: All-round nice guy Jon Bon Jovi is the red oni; and the more difficult, for lack of a better word, Richie Sambora is the blue oni.
  • Sleater-Kinney were an aural equivalent of this trope. Corin Tucker, whose voice was often harsh and abrasive, was the Red Oni. Carrie Brownstein, whose voice was generally much smoother and gentler, was the Blue Oni.
  • The Rolling Stones had Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, but it's debatable on who's which oni.
  • The post-1999 Red Hot Chili Peppers had the loud, over-the-top Anthony Kiedis and the quiet, thoughtful John Frusciante, who got noticeably calmer and more reserved when he re-joined the band. Of course, his successor Josh Klinghoffer can fit the Blue Oni role as well.
  • Rush is a full red-purple-blue spectrum: guitarist Alex Lifeson is cheerful, playful, and energetic (red), bassist/singer/keyboardist Geddy Lee is a bit more quiet and soft-spoken than Alex but still happily socializes and jokes with fans and interviewers (purple), and drummer Neil Peart is quiet, shy, and apprehensive about meeting fans and giving interviews because he isn't comfortable with being recognized and/or put on a pedestal (blue).
  • Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn, respectively, of Brooks & Dunn. Kix was more active and energetic live; Ronnie was more straightforward and less showy.
  • Likewise, Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush of Sugarland. Nettles is very active and outgoing onstage, while Bush is more quiet and in the background.
  • The music video for Wiley ft Chew Fu's Take That features two dancers, Shanie Ryan and Yasmin Ogbu. Throughout the video, Yasmin (Red) pulls many crazy facial expressions and mouths some of the song, while Shanie (Blue) retains the same neutral expression (save for the occasional smile) and doesn't mouth any of the words. Ironically, in closeup shots, Yasmin is cast under a blue light while Shanie is cast under a red light.
  • The Beatles has two Red Oni, Blue Oni pairs. One is charming, crowd-pleasing Paul McCartney and deep meaning-searching John Lennon. There is also cheerful Ringo Starr and quiet George Harrison.
  • King Crimson, from their 1980s incarnation onward, has a prototypical red-blue pair in their two guitarists, vocalist Adrian Belew and de facto leader Robert Fripp. Belew stakes his claim on raving, David Byrne-like monologues, bizarre guitar noises, and dancing around on the stage, while Fripp sits in the corner unobtrusively and plays immensely complex lines, while presenting a generally intellectual image.
  • Led Zeppelin: red Robert Plant's manic vocals and stage presence, blue Jimmy Page's steady and tight guitar virtuosity.
    • As a band, Led Zeppelin's hard, heavy metal sound (Red Oni) pits them against their rival, the more cool, progressive rock band Pink Floyd (Blue Oni).
  • The Doors' Jim Morrison was definitely the red to all the others' blue. In a biography, Morrison is recounted as saying that keyboardist and band elder (by about 5 years) Ray Manzarek could give him a certain Disapproving Look and he'd know he'd "gone too far". But boy, did he go pretty far a lot of the time...
  • Ozzy Osbourne (red) vs. the rest of Black Sabbath (especially Tony Iommi) (blue).
  • Most lead singers are probably going to be comparatively red by virtue of them being the main stage presence and the voice of the band, and expectations of being particularly energetic in concerts.
  • The two major singers and songwriters for the Eagles, Don Henley and Glenn Frey, presented a red-blue contrast. Henley's rougher, raspier voice was generally put to use in their more energetic or "harder" ("Life in the Fast Lane", "Those Shoes"), or more emotional ("Desperado", "Wasted Time") songs. Frey's easier, smoother voice generally goes to the easy country-ish songs ("Take It Easy", "Tequila Sunrise", "New Kid in Town"). Henley is red, Frey is blue. (In their respective solo careers, the contrast becomes more apparent.)
  • Comparing the big four "British Invasion" bands of the early '60s, The Rolling Stones and The Who were the red oni; The Beatles and The Kinks were the blue oni.
    • And speaking of The Beatles, they would be the Red Oni to their American counterpart The Beach Boys (Blue Oni), as the latter has more pop-ish music.
  • In terms of genres, there's Punk Rock (Red Oni) and Progressive Rock (Blue Oni).
  • Heavy Metal has many subgenres that form this dynamic with each other; a well-known example being the dynamic between Black Metal (Blue; focused on atmosphere and ambiance) and Death Metal (Red; focused on aggression and intensity).
  • A music genre example: Electronic music (Blue) and Rock/Metal music (Red).
  • The Comedic Hard Rock duo Tenacious D is comprised of two clear-cut Onis: Wild Ham-Face Jack Black and Straight Silent Bob Kyle Gass.
  • Primary Dream Theater songwriters and musicians John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy occupy a solidly respective Blue and Red. Take the band members together and you have a distinct red-to-blue spectrum: Portnoy, LaBrie, Rudess, Petrucci, Myung.
  • Ratatat, being as their are only two guys it's pretty clear which is which. Mike Stroud, the guitarist, is the red oni, while Evan Mast, the bassist, is the blue oni. It's pretty clear when you see their live performances as Mike with go crazy running, headbanging, and bouncing around on stage, while Evan is more focused on performing the music.
  • Roger Waters, the outspoken, political songwriter and lyricist whose scream was the Trope Namer for Careful with That Axe, was the Red Oni to the Blue Onis in the rest of Pink Floyd. After Waters left the band, they pursued a noticeably softer sound.
  • Before she became Lady Gaga, she recorded a song called, "Red and Blue", describing a relationship between a red and blue oni (she's the red one, if you needed to be told).
  • Foreigner: Lou Gramm, the Hot Blooded red, and Mick Jones, the Cold as Ice blue.
  • Depeche Mode: Dave Gahan is a charismatic and extroverted Red Oni, while Martin Gore is a calm and introverted Blue Oni. Andy Fletcher can be considered as both Red and Blue Oni, because in their personal affairs he acts as a "bridge" between Dave and Mart.
  • Late 1960s roots rock: Creedence Clearwater Revival (Red) and The Band (Blue).
  • In both Pendulum and Knife Party's live sets, Gareth McGrillen generally embodies the Red, enthusiastically yelling to and hyping up the audience, while Rob Swire embodies the Blue, mostly quietly focusing on the music and, in the former's case, the singing.
    • In fact, Pendulum and Knife Party themselves could count for this trope; while both acts are generally loud and energetic, Knife Party's wild, bombastic Dubstep and Electro House and Pendulum's more serious, traditionally respectable electronic rock and Drum and Bass combination would put them as Red and Blue respectively.
  • Two of the biggest European Power Metal bands are Sabaton (red) and Nightwish (blue). Sabaton relies primarily on electric guitar and keyboard, sings primarily about war and heroes, has a Badass Baritone for a lead singer, features absurdly catchy melodies that are easy to sing along to, and is generally Hot-Blooded and Rated M for Manly. Nightwish uses a large amount of orchestral instruments along with the rock instruments, sings primarily about abstract concepts and inner emotions, has a classically-trained soprano for a lead singer, features classically-influenced songwriting, and is generally epic and emotionally moving.
  • Spice Girls: Geri and Mel B were red, while Emma and Victoria were blue. Mel C was purple.


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